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Rise of the Superfood

How Buckwheat and Pitaya are Leading the Industry in Innovation

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Even before COVID-19, consumers were becoming increasingly aware of—and mindful about—what they eat. Now, as they spend more time at home than ever before, people are getting creative with recipes and ingredients—especially at breakfast, when typical commuting hours have been reclaimed and can now be used to blend up smoothies, craft breakfast bowls and more. A side effect of switching up our culinary standbys is rediscovering certain foods, and with the world’s current focus on health, better-for-you staples like superfoods are rising in popularity.

A superfood is a nutrient-rich food that’s considered beneficial to health and well-being. And while the idea of superfoods has been around for some time (and is certainly here to stay), our understanding of which foods count as superfoods is ever-expanding. Here are two rising superfoods worth keeping an eye on:

Buckwheat

There’s been a definitive uptick in the popularity of buckwheat, a grain-like seed that provides numerous benefits for the body. Buckwheat is good for the cardiovascular system and blood sugar, and even protects against heart disease. Recent studies have shown buckwheat to be protective against asthma in children. 

One company making buckwheat accessible to home cooks is Lil Bucks, whose delicious and easy-to-use products include crunchy snacks and cereals made from sprouted buckwheat. Lil Bucks’ products make buckwheat and its nutrients simple to incorporate into consumers’ daily diets through breakfast bowls, smoothies, snacking, salads and more. Their Clusterbucks—described as adaptogenic buckwheat clusters—can even be used as a granola alternative, and come in such flavors as Turmeric Lemon Myrtle and Chocolate Reishi.

Lil Bucks’ innovative products aren’t just delicious, they’re true winners: Lil Bucks’ Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal was voted into first place by KeHE retailers at the distributors’annual Next Generation Innovation Faceoff in June.

Pitaya Fruit

Another superfood on the rise is pitaya: a nutrient-rich fruit that helps fight chronic disease. Also known as dragon fruit, pitaya is an antioxidant (with Vitamin C, betalains and carotenoids) that strengthens the immune system and is loaded with fiber to promote a healthy gut.

Pitaya Foods is making it easy for consumers to try this tropical fruit at home. Their frozen superfruit packs make pitaya fruit a simple addition to homemade meals. With Bite-Sized Pieces and Smoothie Packs, Pitaya Foods’ superfruit products are adaptable to a range of recipes.

Pitaya Foods was KeHE Distributors’ 2020 On Trend Winner in the Frozen category, cementing its place as a category innovator in the superfood space.

Keeping the pulse of food innovations and emerging superfoods is the role of the Category Management team at KeHE Distributors, where category experts cultivate a deep knowledge of product innovation and food trends. KeHE Category Managers measure KPIs, consumer behavior shifts, purchase patterns and tradeshow involvement as a means to monitor consumer and product trends. They use these insights to support whole-store strategies and help bring innovative and in-demand products to the retailers and consumers who want them.

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